Okpala said that Ufele, one of the founding players of Rangers International FC of Enugu in the early 1970s, died on Sept. 4, at an undisclosed hospital in India where he had been receiving treatment.
“It’s rather unfortunate to us in Ex-Rangers that Ernest is dead. There is nothing again we can do for now to resuscitate him,” he said.
Reacting, ex-Green Eagles and Rangers International goalkeeper, Emmanuel Okala, said on telephone that the news of Ufele’s death came to him as a “very great shock”.
Okala said he used to be Ufele’s roommate while they were in Rangers.
He said that Ufele was a man he knew too well in the Rangers team of their days, adding that his death was “very painful to me”.
“We are not expecting or envisaging this development,” he said.
The ex-Green Eagles goalkeeper described him “as a very outspoken and wise person who took after his father’s great wisdom.”
Okala said that he was rest assured that the Anambra government in its character of taking care of ex-Rangers players would do something to immortalise the late football icon who hailed from the state.
A sports writer, Ikem Asika, said: “The demise of Ufele is a big loss to the Rangers family.”
Asika said that Ufele was a one-time special adviser to Anambra Government on sports during the administration of Gov. Chris Ngige but noted, however, that the appointment was short-lived.
“Anambra people will miss a great football personality that had the passion to motivate young players.
“This is because the late footballer always featured prominently in grassroots football competitions within and outside the state during his life time,” he said.